Archive for the ‘THEATRE’ Category

“My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy”–review   Leave a comment


Brad Zimmerman wrote and stars in this one-man show that is playing at the NSU Art Museum’s Art/Horvitz auditorium.

He was a waiter for 29 years and I was one for 38 years and we both are Jewish so I thought this might be a fun show. Upfront I must admit I am not a fan of standup comics or most one-man shows and I thought it was brave of Mr. Zimmerman to book his show from February 1-March 25 doing 6 shows a week.

Reading his credits I was surprised that I haven’t heard of him. His show played off-Broadway for 15 months, he has opened shows for Billy Crystal, Gary Shandling and Joan Rivers. He had a role in “The Sopranos” and had taken his show across the country.

He originally came to New York to be an actor but was a waiter for 29 years before he took a lesson in stand-up comedy and decided to pursue a theatre career writing and performing this play.

In my opinion, most of his 80 minutes take place ‘yesterday’. He tells many old waiter jokes and talks about old comedians, many who aren’t with us anymore, using one-liners that were funny then and are funny now. The Jewish and waiter jokes take up too much of his act while he is more effective talking about his personal life, though even there his ‘mother’ jokes are mostly cliches.

At the age of 62, Zimmerman could easily pass for late 40s, early 50s, works out and is still trying to get his act together and while this show entertains it is still not a finished piece. He is doing another show called “My Rise to the Middle” which he is doing for one night only on Sunday, March 18, which he bills as a sequel. It might be interesting to see “My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy” before the 18th and see his progression with “My Rise to the Middle”.

For tickets go to http://www.MySonThe Waiter.com or call 1-855-448-7469


PS As he says on stage and on his web page–he is looking for a date!

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Posted February 3, 2018 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW, Uncategorized

The Fort Lauderdale Broadway Across America 2018-2019 season   Leave a comment






Posted January 27, 2018 by greatmartin in MUSICAL THEATRE, THEATRE, Uncategorized

“The Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”–touring company review   Leave a comment

Imagine being an actor who is playing 8 different roles, each requiring a change of costume, mannerisms and even gender, while remembering which one who says what and where on stage they should be interacting with the rest of the cast. James Taylor Odom has that job and does it to perfection. Oh, yes, let’s not forget he is singing and dancing also.

Equally in his expertise and talent is his co-star Blake Price who seems to be on stage the whole 2 hour and 10 minutes the show takes. He has a couple of outstanding solos but he, Colleen McLaughlin and Erin McIntyre doing “I’ve Decided To Marry You” stops the show.

The story of “The Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” is about Monty Navarro (Price) having to kill 8 people (all played by Odom) in order to get the title, and all the wealth and respect that goes with it, Earl of Highhurst, while at the same time dealing with a fiancée and mistress.

The story can be summed up easily but the production starting with the opening set by Alexander Dodge, takes a lot of work. The many changes of costumes designed by Linda Cho involving the whole cast, the comedy ranging from satire to slapstick and everything in-between, with choreography by Peggy Hickey who also directs the tour, based on the original direction by Darko Tresnjak, comes down to split timing from everyone on and behind the stage including the 9 piece band directed by Josh Cullen. Adding to the fun and wonder are the art projections by Aaron Rhyne

The book, lyrics and music provided by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak offer the complete cast of 14 to shine plus makes a very unfunny subject of killing people very funny.

“The Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” is a laugh filled way to start the 2018 theatre year.

 

Running time including a 20-minute intermission is 2 hours and 30 minutes. The next show of the Broadway Across America series in Fort Lauderdale is “Wicked” opening on Valentine’s Day February 14.

Theatre 2017–My picks   Leave a comment

Theatre 2017 collage

It is no secret that I love the theatre! There is a certain magic about it that I don’t find in movies, on television and/or reading a book though I do find a different kind of magic in each. There is a scene in “Finding Neverland” that blew my mind and I knew it could be explained logically but I didn’t want to know.

I’ve been invited to press conferences and in my early youth I was invited backstage a few times (which I declined) and I’ve blocked out a period in my life where I was involved putting a play onstage all because I didn’t want to know what goes on behind the scenes nor did I want to meet any actors and not have them live up to the characters they played on stage. Strange? That theatre.

This past year I saw 19 shows of which 3 stood out with the first being “Something Rotten”! I found it fun, original, had a great score and defined the “Broadway Musical Comedy Theatre” for me. I would love to see it again and hope it comes back to South Florida.

The second show was one I saw over 50 years ago and this was the first time since then and this production of “The King and I” was that pure magic I talked about and made me forget Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner who I saw in the original and that was hard to forget.

The third show was “Beautiful”, which featured the music of Carole King and I had seen in 2016 and watched the second time as if it was the first time I saw it. That makes for a good show!

Tonight starts the 2018 season and I will be seeing “Riverdance 20” and next Tuesday “The Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” to be followed by “Wicked”, “The Color Purple”, “The Bodyguard”, “Waitress”, “Jersey Boys” and “Chicago”. Stayed tuned for my reviews.

Theatre 2 2017 collage 

I could listen to this all day every day! From “Something Rotten” at the Tony Awards “It’s A Musical”!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnvF6A2DCAE

 

And this one with show references

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KFNcy9VjQI

“School of Rock”–Broadway touring musical–review   Leave a comment


Rob Colletti who stars, and deservingly so, as Dewey, a wannabe rock star who is a loser in life, better watch his step because any one of the 12 children starring opposite him is ready, and sometimes do, to steal the spotlight from him.

Theo –Mitchell Penner, as uncool Lawrence, sees himself as the king of rock, plays the keyboard while Theodora Silverman as Katie plays bass and adopts the look of a rock winner and Phoenix Schulman as Zack can step into any rock band out there and play the guitar as a professional but has the moves of one. One who brings the house down is Gilberto Moretti –Hamilton as the drummer Freddy, who seems to have learned from the masters.

Olivia Buckner as Shonelle and Chloe Anne Garcia as Marcy are the backup singers to soon be joined by Gianna Harris, as Tomika, who stops the show with her rendition of “Amazing Grace”. Though not playing musicians Billy, played by John Michael Pitera, who is in charge of the costumes and gets one of the biggest laughs with a reference to Barbra Streisand, Ava Briglia as the know-it-all Summer becomes the manager, Tommy Ragen as James becomes a security guard for the band and Sophie, played by Gabriella Uhl dives into her role as a roadie. Carson Hodges, plays the lighting designer Mason makes up the 12th kid of this group of children attending an upscale school all having personal problems, mainly with their parents.

The story is a simple one of how Dewey lies himself into the school as a teacher and surprises himself by helping each of the kids turn themselves around with music. Rob Colletti holds the cast, along with the audience, in the palm of his hands with the former enjoying each moment on stage with him and the latter loving him each moment on stage, no matter how outrageous he is on stage.

Along with the kids, Lexie Dorsett Sharp, as the school principal, Matt Bittner as Dewey’s best friend Ned and Emily Borromeo as Ned’s wife an ensemble of adults playing various roles from parents to teachers provide strong support for the 12 kids and Rob Colletti.

Never having seen the movie I don’t know how much the book by Juiian Fellowes follows it and I understand, with Glenn Slater writing the lyrics with new music by Andrew Lloyd Webber there are 14 new songs. Two are standouts: “Stick It To The Man” song and reprieved twice by Colletti and the kids with “Where Did The Rock Go?” sung beautifully and full-voiced by Lexie Dorsett Sharp.

The production end, from sets to costumes including lighting and direction, are all first rate with only the choreography being a bit disappointing but then what does a hard rock band do but jump up and down? (Okay heavy metal and hard rock fans forget the hate letters!)

There are many shows from “Annie” to “Oliver” to “The Music Man”, “The Sound Of Music” and “Finding Neverland” but “School of Rock” is in a class of their own. As Andrew Lloyd Webber’s recorded voice says at the beginning of the show, “Yes, these kids are really playing their instruments along with doing their own dancing, singing and acting.”

 

 

Show is 2 hours and 45 minutes including a 22-minute intermission. Next show coming to the Broward Center of the Performing Arts will be “Riverdance20” January 5-7, 2018 followed by “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” January 9-21, 2018.

The First Baptist Chorch of Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant Part 1   Leave a comment

Pageant Photos Collage #FTL PAGEANT

(I don’t know how many parts this will be as I took many videos which, hopefully, will be better than the photos! I really want you to get a taste of the spectacular presentation!)

 As a Jewish boy in the Bronx I was treated to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas pageant every year by a couple of my Catholic friends for something like 10 years in a row. NOTHING I ever saw–not the Rockettes, not the reproduction of ice skating in Central Park, etc., even comes close to what I saw today. It blew me away! Folks, the talent, the singing, dancing, instrumental performers not to mention the lighting, special effects, production, set decoration, backdrops, heck even the donkey, horses and goats were spectacular. There are snowflakes, confetti, even red heart-shaped balloons falling from the ceiling with, people, animals, walking, singing and dancing down the aisles. I don’t know how many people were in the cast but they were, in age, from toddlers to seniors and each one could step on a professional Broadway stage today! I wish the program had a list of who sang what because some of the soloists were breathtaking and without giving away any spoilers watch for that kid singing “Happy Birthday Jesus”. Talking about Broadway, I see all the touring shows that come through South Florida and not had a one that could equal the first act of this pageant. I, literally, could go on talking for the next 2 and a half hours (that’s how long the show is including a 15-minute intermission.!) including the second half which though we may think we know the story is presented in such a way it is as if we are seeing/hearing it for the first time and just as affecting. It is playing November 30 to December 17–give yourself, yours and your friends the best Christmas AND Hannakuh gift ever! Go to the First Baptist Fort Lauderdale Church website and get tickets before they are completely sold out!

It is worth a trip to Fort Lauderdale to see this Pageant!

“Love Never Dies”–a touring company review   Leave a comment

In January 2018 “The Phantom of the Opera” will start its 30thyear playing to sold out crowds on Broadway and in February 2018 it will celebrate its 27th year as the opening show for the debut of the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Last night the sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera”, called “Love Never Dies”, had its performance for the first time in South Florida at the same Performing Arts Center in Fort Lauderdale.

We are reunited with Christine, her lover, now husband, Raoul, The Phantom along with others from the original show plus, new to the story, Christine’s 9 year old son Gustave.

The Phantom lives in Coney Island, New York, in 1907 and Christine, now one of the world’s best opera singers, has been invited to sing in Manhattan. The Phantom lures her, Raoul, who has gambled and drank their money away, and their son to the wondrous world of the exciting Coney Island. We are very quickly thrown into the world of one of the most famous triangle love stories ever told.

The music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with lyrics by Glenn Slater and Charles Hart, has written some beautiful numbers, including the title tune and “Till I Hear You Sing”, though not as quite as memorable as those from the original show.

The production values from costumes and scenic designs by Gabriela Tylesova to the lighting by Nick Schlieper, the choreography by Graeme Murphy and sound by Mick Potter all add up to a first rate setting. The set is constantly changing and the roundtable never seems to stop.

Starting with the first number, the aforementioned “Till I Hear You Sing”, sung by the Phantom, played by Gardar Thor Cortes the audience knows they are in for a treat as his voice expresses the thoughts of a man in pain yearning for the woman he loved and lost. Sean Thompson is a handsome Raoul with a voice that matches Cortes and/or any other of the cast members that he sings with in duos, trios, quartets or ensemble numbers. Mary Michael Patterson, as Meg, delivers the goods as an actress and singer, quite enjoyable but didn’t seem quite sure of her dancing. Karen Mason as Madame Giry is dressed to look like Mrs. Danvers in “Rebecca” which doesn’t distract from her bringing the first act to a powerhouse close with “Ten Long Years”. A really delightful surprise was Casey Lyons as the 9 year old Gustave playing his role and singing with a lot of confidence.

Christine, ah Christine, from her first entrance on stage and her song it is obvious that Mehan Picerno will own the role and take us on the journey she is on in “Love Never Dies”. It is when she sings that song near the end of the second act that her amazing talent is brought to the front and one wishes the songwriting team had written another solo or two for her.

“Love Never Dies” stands on its own as a musical with the vocal talents alone, along with the impressive sets, but if compared to “The Phantom of the Opera” it would be found lacking which shouldn’t deter from seeing this show in Fort Lauderdale or when it comes to your town.

Running time: 2 hours and 26 minutes including a 20 minute intermission.

 

“Till I Hear You Sing” from “Love Never Dies”

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhNXBC4aLU0

Posted November 8, 2017 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, THEATRE, THEATRE REVIEW, Uncategorized

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